As a violinist, I always carry my instrument around. You could say that my violin and I are inseparable. I always need my instrument: whenever I go to the conservatory to study, whenever I teach, whenever I play concerts and even whenever I stay at someone’s house for a few days. The days I don’t have my violin with me I feel naked and incomplete, like something essential is missing. Since my violin case and I have spent many years together I would like to tell you a few odd and funny things that happened to me while I was carrying my instrument.
1. ‘What’s in the case?’
I often get the question what instrument I carry in my case. I get it, I have a long and squared case, so it might not be so easy to guess which instrument is inside. I’ve heard keyboard, flute and many other funny things. I always like to explain which instrument I’m playing, because most people are interested in what’s in the case. However, once someone asked me if I was carrying around a weapon. The imagination of a person can be very interesting sometimes ;)
2. The supermarket incident
After I finished my day at the conservatory I decided to do grocery shopping at a local supermarket. I collected all the items I needed and went to the counter. Then one of the employees asked me if I could open my violin case, to check if I hadn’t stolen anything from the shop. At first, I was a bit annoyed and shocked by the question but opened my case anyway. After the incident I thought to myself: ‘it would have been a funny sight if I really did have food hidden in my case’.
3. The HEMA-incident
For all the Dutch people, HEMA is probably one of the most known stores in the Netherlands. You can buy there everything you need: clothes, food, accessories, home decoration, you name it. One day I went inside to buy a snack (since the shop located close to the conservatory) and I encountered a man. This man asked me if I could play something for him. I thought it was a weird question and politely turned him down. After that, he asked me why I didn’t want to play. When I explained to him that I couldn’t play in a store, he became very angry at me and started calling me names. At that point, I felt very uncomfortable and turned away. Just before I walked out the store later, he again came to me to say some nasty things to me. Awkward…
4. A slap on the case
One day before my exam I was standing on the side of the bicycle path, trying to make a knot in the coat I was wearing. Then all of a sudden a teenage boy cycled along and intentionally hit my case with his hand. The blow was very hard, as I felt pain in my back. I immediately reacted and started to chase him on my bicycle. Eventually, we both arrived at a stop sign and I started to yell at him, as there were too many people standing in front of me and I couldn’t reach him. It’s not something I would normally do, but this really pissed me off.
5. Problems on the bus
I travel a lot by train, and one day I had to take a bus because the train wasn’t working between two stations. As I was about to step on the bus, the driver told me that I was supposed to put my violin case in the luggage compartment downstairs. I told him that it wasn’t possible because I had an instrument in the case and it wasn’t safe to put it with all the other heavy luggage that people put there. He didn’t get my point and asked me again (in a rude way) to put the violin case downstairs. I stared at him for a few seconds, said ‘no’ and went on the bus. Some people just don’t seem to understand…
Have you ever encountered strange things as a musician? You’re welcome to share your story down below!
Cheers and see you next time!
Author: Nino Natroshvili
Violinist and student at the Utrecht Conservatory, the Netherlands.